- B4I Board
Newsletter of August 28th, 2020
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Internal and External Current Events & Politics
UAE and Israel
On August 13th, 2020, a relations normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel was released, detailing the soon-to-be-established diplomacy between the two nations (Dahan et al, 2020). This development is one of the largest advancements to solidifying Israel as a partner to all in the Middle East, both politically and economically, since the peace agreement with Jordan back in 1994 (Dahan et al, 2020, par. 3) (Gittleson, 2020, par. 11). The agreement includes the exchange of ambassadors and further ties in economic matters, as well as temporarily halting Israeli expansion into West Bank territories, which will presumably lead to growth in the two nations within the coming years (Gittleson, 2020, par. 2) (Dahan et al, 2020, par. 7). Above all, though, the most interesting development out of the historic step forward were the reactions from Israel's neighbors and frenemies.
The reactions in the MENA region were varied, and typically trended towards the long-standing political rivalries which typically characterize Israeli-Arab diplomacy. The leaders of both Hamas and Fatah denounced the deal, along with Iran, Turkey, Libya, Tunisia, Kuwait and individual political groups in Yemen and Morocco ("How the world reacted", 2020) (Kosak & Semiz, 2020) (Al-Thabti, 2020). Lukewarm reactions in Jordan and Saudi Arabia are also expected, due to the rocky and often uncomfortable relationship between the two nations and Israel (Jordans & Batrawy, 2020) (How the World Reacted, 2020, par. 16-20). However, the growing list of nations in the region that reacted positively, including Egypt, Bahrain, Oman and Mauritania, as well as the tacit and wishy-washy support of both Lebanon and Sudan, spell out the writing on the wall: normalization with Israel is coming, and fast ("How the world reacted", 2020) ("Mauritania affirms", 2020) (AFP, 2020) (Amin, 2020).
Secret relationships between Israel and Arab nations truly are the cat in the bag, and the new UAE-Israel deal is the quiet part said out loud. Whether the negative reactions from MENA governments are because of the back-door dealings being put into more public light, or because they are secretly fearful of being left behind in a post-Israeli-normalization world, are hard to say. The next UAE may be just as unprecedented or unexpected - Bahrain's positive reaction is less surprising when one realizes that the two nations have had underground diplomatic relations for years, and the Sudanese could be saying one thing while acting upon more vested ties with Israel (Amin, 2020) (Melman, 2011) (Ravid, 2017). One thing is for sure, and that is Israel is here to stay, and diplomacy will not just be necessary, but inevitable.
AFP. (2020, Aug 16). Lebanon President Michel Aoun hedges over eventual peace with Israel in interview. Deccan Herald. https://www.deccanherald.com/international/world-news-politics/lebanon-president-michel-aoun-hedges-over-eventual-peace-with-israel-in-interview-873955.html
Al-Thabti, A. (2020, Aug 18). Tunisian parliament slams UAE-Israeli de
Over the weekend of August 2nd to the 3rd thousands of people gathered to protest the Israeli government’s handling of COVID-19. The protest on Saturday took place outside of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, his other home in Caesarea, and junctions throughout Israel. These protests were calling for Netanyahu to resign as the Prime Minister of Israel. There were around 10,00 people that protested near Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, hundreds of people that gathered outside of Netanyahu’s home in Caesarea, and hundreds of people that gathered at Charles Clore Park to protest the government’s failure to manage the economic fallout from COVID-19. These protest in Jerusalem have been going on consistently for over a month now outside of Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence.
There were also counter protests taking place during this time. Dozens of people that were associated with Sheffi Paz showed up at Supreme Court President Esther Hayut’s residence to protest the High Court’s refusal to forbid the protest taking place outside of Netanyahu’s residence. Sheffi Paz was also later arrested near Hayut’s house for apparently spray-painting graffiti. Also, 14 members of LA Familia were arrested at an anti-Netanyahu protest for apparently attacking demonstrators. There is also an investigation taking place to look into a report of a car trying to ram into protestors in Rehovot. To add, there are reports of the police using excessive force against peaceful protestors be using riot control units, undercover cops, mounted units, and water cannons. It should also be added that the police arrested 12 people of August 2nd.
Hamas Attacks & Israeli Response
Recently, balloon-borne incendiary devices from the Gaza Strip have caused at least 60 fires in southern Israel. Tensions on the Gaza border have intensified due to these balloon-borne incendiary devices and threats from Hamas to renew rocket fire. This has led to small fire exchanges taking place. In response to the recent attacks, Israel has shut down the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing, halting all goods but fuel, humanitarian products, and food.
In response to these balloon-borne incendiary devices, Israeli helicopter gunships and tanks attacked at least 3 sites in Gaza. The IDF said that their forces targeted a military base, underground infrastructure, and observation posts that belonged to Hamas. These attacks took place after Israeli leaders told Hamas rulers that Israel would take forceful action if the balloon-borne incendiary device attacks continued.
Boxerman, A. (2020, August 12). Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza after over 60 fires sparked by arson balloons. Retrieved August 28, 2020, from https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-hits-hamas-targets-in-gaza-after-over-60-fires-sparked-by-arson-balloons/
ToI Staff. (2020, August 1). Retrieved August 28, 2020, from https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-biggest-protest-yet-over-10000-rally-against-netanyahu-in-jerusalem/
Rated as one of the best restaurants within Israel Uri Buri located in northern Israel inside the city of Acre. Known as one of the top 25 fine dining restaurants around the world Uri Buri lays claim to a delicious assortment of seafood. Additionally boasting an assortment of over 100 Israeli wines this restaurant isn’t one to miss. Opened in 1989 Uri Buri is housed within an Ottoman era stone building near the ancient port and is owned and operated by Uri Jeremias, he additionally owns a small ice cream shop up the street and part of the hotel Efendi. One of the most recognized restaurants in northern Israel this is a place that brings together Israelis and travelers in a way that only food can. Uri Buri has been featured on Netflix on the series “Somebody Feed Phil” which centered around the creator of the show “Everybody loves Raymond” encouraging people to travel. This is a must see restaurant!
Azar, Y. (2019, November 11). Israeli seafood restaurant listed among world's best. Retrieved August 19, 2020, from https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/uri-buri-resturant-owner-santa-claus-seafood
Hartman, D. (2019, August 14). Uri Buri. Retrieved August 19, 2020, from https://www.afar.com/places/uri-buri-acre
In Israel, the culture and lifestyle has always had a mixture of Jewish and non-Jewish influence, and their music has had the same. Israel’s music has had many global influences, fueling and inspiring many different genres. Rock music, for example, first started to gain popularity and increase momentum in the mid to late 60’s. This popularity continued well into the 1970’s, with heavy folk influences. The songs seen at this time didn’t touch on serious topics or situations but kept more of a lighthearted feel. However, at the start of the 1990’s this changed tremendously due to an up and coming star, Aviv Geffen. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, when Aviv Geffen gained popularity in the rock music scene, he turned many heads with his music mentioning very serious and adult themes that no rock musician had successfully done before him. When Aviv Geffen performed for the first time, he stood on stage and bragged about evading the mandatory draft all while he was dressed in drag. Geffen’s punk-rock attitude was a sharp contrast to what society was used to hearing and seeing in performances and the rock genre (AICE, 2020). This paved the way for more aspiring musicians and groups to follow his unique path. With over 15 solo albums, numerous singles, and extensive work with other groups, Geffen maintains his popularity and success. His distinctive sound gained him many loyal fans, and he still performs and creates new music to this day, currently with Blackfield, a music collaboration Aviv Geffen is a member of.
AICE. (2020). Aviv Geffen (1973 - ). Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/aviv-geffen
Calling all Jewish Fashionistas!
Introducing Ariel Tidhar, an American Israeli based out of Brooklyn New York and the artist behind the Ariel Tidhar Judaica Brand.
Growing up in Chicago, Ariel lived in a very strong Jewish and Pro-Israel community. It wasn’t until her later teen years where she encountered the anti-Israel rhetoric of the world.
Ariel combats this rhetoric by being unapologetically Israeli and uses that spirit to create transformative Judaica pieces.
Gone are the days of ‘Bubbe Jewlery”; the Ariel Tidhar brand has revamped traditional Jewish themes and symbols into bright and bold statement pieces. After just a quick viewing of the brands website, there’s no shortage of electric hues and striking glitter. Now launched in small batches, these are true artistic works at its core.
Centered around the Hebrew Calendar, there’s always something new hitting the shop, including options for custom works. When asked if more pieces based on Israeli culture and themes would be available, Ariel said we would just have to wait and see!
The biggest take away from the Ariel Tidhar brand is proudly owning your Jewishness. In a country where assimilation is prevalent, sometimes setting yourself apart can be an empowering experience. Especially if you look good doing it!